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I commute to work -- 8 miles on bike lines (THANK YOU, City of Austin, TX), mostly through neighborhoods filled with amazing huge trees -- pecans, sycamores, oaks, cedar elms and many others. As I head into Central Austin, I go through the 1970s & 1980s hoods, then the 50s and 60s and then the wonderful little pre WWII cottages in the vicinity of the University where i work. I bus home most of the way, since it is too damn hot in the afternoon.
Anyway, these are some observations from my morning commute. Post up about yours commutes:

¡Ay Chihuahua!
Got to the intersection of Parkfield & Rutland on the morning commute. Busy intersection, with houses on one side and a Valero gas station and strip mall parking lot across the street -- just the scenario lethal to a lost pet. Waiting at the light, I noticed a tiny, bitty little wire-haired chihuahua (a toy chihuahua? -- miniscule little dog) by the very large fire hydrant at the corner. This was not a squat little fire hydrant but about a 3-footer. About the time I am thinking that the dog is an escapee & I need to scoop him up and take him up to the door of the closest house pronto, Mr. Mini Dog pees on the fire hydrant and trots back up his driveway and sits down on the door stoop. He had a lot of options of places to pee, but a tiny dog opting to trot down the driveway to pee on a large fire hydrant struck me as really funny. Maybe he was trying to impress the three cats lounging around, all much bigger than he was.

Last week as I was waiting at the light at Rundberg and Parkfield, I noticed a heavy set man wearing shorts & a Gilligan hat and headphones on the sidewalk across the street. He had one of those retractable leashes with something attached to the end that at first looked like maybe a tiny ferret. As he got closer, I realized it was a toy Chihuahua puppy bobbing and bouncing along at the end of the leash. Just something about the contrast of the heavy-gravity heft of the guy and the almost weightless little puppy at the end of a string created a wonderful little scenario.

On that same day, on Grover -- in a neighborhood that always seems like Beaver Cleaver might walk out the door -- I was behind a restored Model T, or sort of a Cadillac version of a Model T driven by an elderly guy with a shock of white hair. On the sidewalk an equally elderly guy with perfect military bearing and wearing pressed navy blue slacks and a blue veteran's cap saluted smartly & the driver saluted smartly back.

I'm riding in a neighborhood on Parkfield filled with a densely built out housing subdivision from the 1970s or or maybe 80s. I look over and notice a little house beside a small creek called Colony Creek, partially screened by a tree or two. The structure is built in the style typical of German settlers in the 1850s to 1890s. The fachwerk style has a timberframe with crossbraces and the wall is filled with mud and straw. A section of wall facing the street is missing its plaster and the fachwerk and limestone foundation are clearly visible. There is a City of Austin historical marker but no text & a brown 1970s Camry is always in the driveway. Amazingly, this intact little house was saved from deveopment and street construction. My German forbears immigrated to central Texas during this time period, so this is very touching to me.

The early mornings (I usually leave the house by 7 am or a bit before) always seem ripe for magical moments like that and when you are on a bicycle, you get to witness them.

Fortunately my commute is primarily on bike routes through neighborhoods, so not too much of the heavy traffic on major arteries.
 
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